From a young age, I knew that my heart was made to love fiercely.
And it does. In romantic relationships, in my role as a mother, in my educational and professional pursuits–I have fallen hard for the things which capture my heart.
There are times when this has been incredibly painful. As I grew into adulthood, there were several relationships that failed (or never even got off the ground) which I felt would almost break me in two. And then there have been times when a fiercely passionate heart has simply led to disappointment. Consider, for example, that over the last fifteen years I’ve fallen in love with five different career paths–only to find partway in that they just weren’t for me. Sometimes the heartbreak of unfulfilled dreams can be devastating.
But sometimes the “no” answer is necessary. In fact, sometimes even the heartbreak is necessary. After all, isn’t disappointment and heartbreak a testament to the fact that you took a chance, that you chose to try something on and walk around in it for awhile, seeing if it fit you? Like the wrinkles in our faces, a long line of the “no” answers can actually tell a very important story.
They tell the story of the word “yes.”
There cannot be sweetness in the “yes” without the bitterness of the “no.” And when we hear “no,” it shapes the next step we take. Each step builds on the next, weaving a tapestry of choices and lessons and set-ups for the next set of decisions. Through an intricate foundation of yes and no, we build our lives. But both must be present, or else the foundation is weak.
Today is my eighth wedding anniversary. I found the love of my life after two exceptionally devastating failed relationships in the years prior to meeting him. And after the second of the two, I was convinced that I could never love again. It was just too hard for my fiercely-passionate-but-easily-wounded heart.
But I still remember the day that inwardly I thought, “I need to be open to a yes.“
That day, I let my heart peek out from behind the wall just a little bit. I was willing to take a chance, but just a small one. I was willing to risk another no, but just a tiny bit. I was guarded. I protected myself. But I still left a sliver of a possibility open.
The vulnerability is so hard sometimes, especially when you have been wounded before.
And yet when that “yes” came, it made all the previous “no” answers make sense. It helped me realize the necessary preparation my heart needed for choosing to love day after day after day. That’s right–I said choosing to love. Because a “yes” doesn’t necessarily make things all fall into place.
A “yes” simply provides an opportunity.
It is up to us to say “yes” back. Day after day after day. And those daily “yes” answers are choices.
I choose to say “yes” to being a mom, not just a mother. I choose to say “yes” to working on my relationship with my husband on a daily basis, so that it can continue to be nourished and thrive. I choose to say “yes” to following my heart with this business, making myself vulnerable through the process of creating and sharing (and yes, selling). I choose to say “yes” to keeping an open heart about what is to come, even though it is unknown. I still get plenty of “no” answers, sometimes even on a daily basis.
But sometimes, when you get the “yes” that matters, it makes a thousand “no” answers worth every single ounce of disappointment. Because the “yes” that matters can be enough to last a fiercely-loving heart for a lifetime.